Dr. Pituch is chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery at UPMC Mercy and UPMC Shadyside and a renowned expert in the field. Co-author of the original Pennsylvania dental anesthesia inspection protocol, Dr. Pituch also holds several medical device patents. He is co-founder of Face2Face Healing and Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh, which provide thousands of patients with free dental care at an annual two-day event.
Born at Shadyside Hospital, Dr. Pituch attended Chartiers Valley Senior High School with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. He lives with his wife and three children in the South Hills.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
A Labor Day weekend celebration with family and friends, and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago.
Best part of your job?
Giving other people hope.
What is your long-term mission for Face2Face Healing?
To create a self-sustaining organization that gives people hope when they are at their lowest.
How did you come up with the idea to start Face2Face Healing and the Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic?
Through the identification of a gap that needed to be filled. The genesis of Face2Face Healing was a patient of mine who could not undergo a facial reconstruction that I had planned because of high doses of radiation needed to stop a potentially lethal tumor. She was left devastated, broken and without hope. She told me that there was no organization or support group for people suffering from disfigurement, so we started one.
In a similar fashion, I saw a gap in dental care within our community. I treat patients, referred to me by our hospital emergency departments on a weekly basis who are swollen, infected, in pain and in trouble because of delayed dental care. Some of these patients progress to even suffer brain, heart, bone and eye socket infections that leave them permanently disfigured and/or disabled. Invariably, these patients delay dental care for themselves because they spend their resources on dependents before themselves or simply cannot afford the care for themselves. I shared these facts with close friends, Michael Zamagias and Richard Celko, who immediately recognized the need and became stalwart champions with me for an annual free dental clinic in Pittsburgh. Talk of this spread quickly and to our surprise, to far places. Sites like https://www.dentistsperth.net.au/ mentioned our work becoming a topic of conversation in their circles. This was inspiring stuff, our motivation was strong.
What is the biggest challenge you’ll face this week?
Two very complicated surgeries on two patients traveling to UPMC for care. The first is a young lady whose jaws developed asymmetrically with a severe deviation to the left of her face. The surgery will involve cutting the lower jaw (mandible) and moving it to the right then cutting the upper jaw (maxilla) into four pieces to make it match the shape of the lower jaw and moving it to the right. In addition, excess bone removed from the right lower jaw will be used to graft the upper jaw. The second case also involves a young lady, but her upper jaw will need to be moved vertically closer to her eye sockets and the lower jaw will need to be surgically lengthened so that it coincides with the upper jaw.
What would you like your legacy in Pittsburgh to be?
A self-sustaining organization that embodies the leadership and stewardship of Pittsburgh, giving hope to the forgotten and infirm, as well as three socially responsible, motivated children who find happiness and self-fulfillment in the service of others.
What inspired you to become a dentist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon?
Having an opportunity to work with Alex Sax, DMD, as a teenager. Alex introduced me to the world of dentistry, exodontia and oral and maxillofacial surgery. I then got to know Louise Archer, the widow of an internationally known author and oral and maxillofacial surgeon — Harry Archer. Through her, Archer inspired me further to choose this path. George Sotereanos and Thomas Braun inspired me to go through medical school after dental school as part of a dual-degree training program.
Bridge you LOVE to walk or bike over?
Andy Warhol Bridge.
Where do you always take out-of-town visitors?
Cathedral of Learning, Shadyside, Mount Washington, Market Square, Point State Park.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
Fill in the blank: My bike has logged the most hours on the _____:
Great Allegheny Passage/Three Rivers Heritage Trail.
Where will we find you on a Sunday morning?
Church, then walking through the city, swimming, or water skiing on the Allegheny.
See who else is NEXT Up here.
Have a NEXT Up suggestion? Email us!